March 1, 2010

Pain Management

A hawk, hovering over the scrub watching for dinner as he lets the wind slip by his wings. Point Loma, 2010.

Himself: A good Sunday of getting the taxes done, emailed off, then a drive around the point in the sunshine before dinner and the meeting.

Herself: Did my part in the taxes and then stayed out of the way for the rest. It was a stunningly beautiful day.

Reading: A delightful Cadell.

Gratitude: Taxes done, coughing less, in the moment: a warm computer room.

”What are you wearing to your opening,” I asked Bee.

“Black on black. It makes me look thinner.”

I write leaving a message for my old friend Jay on Facebook, “We worry about you." I say, "Our thoughts are coming your way every day.”

She writes, “….a tumor just fell out, and I hemorrhaged. They did an emergency mastectomy.”

Pain management is available for both friends. Jay is using Hospice plus belief that holistic methods will cure her cancer. Bee has distanced herself from the subject of her latest show….her alcoholic dysfunctional family.

No pain management for me. “Goodbye,” I say to old, blind Lee at the meeting last night. I’d meant to say hello. He remembered the goodbye.

He will only remember the goodbye. He had a brain tumor, and when the doctor’s removed it they took away his eyesight. They took away his ability to function as a reporter, as an editor, the ability to remember much of the present, to function much beyond the moment, but they didn’t take his ability to remember he’s a drunk.

Pain management can be loss too.

His wife drives him to meetings, and people who commit to taking him home whine about it and pass him off on others. G, grudgingly, gripingly, complainingly, drives him home every week on our bench seat built only for two.

I say “Goodbye” to him instead of saying, “Hello…we are here, we will be here for you no matter what, and bottom line we will take you home....” which I had meant to say.

He panics. Then he is placated when I tell him for the fifth or sixth time that I too had a stroke, and that I often say the wrong thing. Potato for shoe or good bye for hello. He understands then tells me everything he told me the week before. I no longer suggest anything new because he won’t remember it.

G drives on into the darkness while Lee tells us what he can see….”The big white line.”

Perhaps the big white line is all any of us need this day.


  1. So sad, all those friends and acquaintances in such sorry states. It must be difficult for you to know how to help.

  2. How great your compassion is!!!!

    I am a stroke patient, too. I've been one for over 30 years.

  3. We know the preciousness of every moment, and spend so much time forgetting to see it.

    You touch my heart with your compassion, and it goes out to you, and to us all.

  4. Soldier on. I remember the pain when my M.I.L. had a series of mini strokes and while perfectly cogent could not remember anything longer than 5 minutes.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...